Thursday, September 29, 2016

Another Darkover Title Page

I enjoyed making the fan art title pages because I could use decorative typefaces. In those days before easy computer type selection and printing, I had to copy the title by hand onto the page. This worked surprisingly well as long as I planned it out carefully.

According to Marion Zimmer Bradley, Darkover had numerous sentient species well before humans arrived. They were all basically humanoid but some had characteristics of animal species as well. The oldest and most elusive were the "chieri," a tall, delicate-looking species of humanoid reminiscent of elves. They were all endowed with psychic powers, and even in the frozen winters of Darkover they were immune to the cold and went naked or wore just a thin wrap. Most interestingly, chieri were physically androgynous. They could turn into either male or female, depending on the desires of their partners. (Bradley borrowed this idea from Ursula Le Guin, who in turn borrowed it from Balzac's "Seraphita.")
Chieri could interbreed with humans, which happened a lot, so the human Darkovans were actually psychically powered hybrids.

This story, in my dim recollection, involved a youth who had the psychic talent of communicating with animals. Living in a primitive medieval society, he was constantly assaulted by the pain and distress of brutalized animals. He ran away into the forest intending to kill himself but instead the wandering chieri found him and took him in among them, where he learned to control his powers. Then, instead of sending him back to the village, they set him in a place where he could be a protector for the animals of forest, farm, and road. 

If this wasn't the way the story went, I apologize to W. Marshall Kyle the author, it was rather a while ago on planet Darkover let alone here on Earth. The magazine with the story is somewhere in my collection but I'm not getting it out.

Black ink on heavy illustration board, 8" x 11", April 1987.

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